Genes are made up of DNA and are found in chromosomes. We get our genes from our parents. Our gene structure determines how our bodies grow and regulate themselves. Genes function normally when they are normal. When genes are faulty or damaged, they can cause disease.
These are referred to as gene mutations or changes. Some changes are passed down through families. These are hereditary or inherited diseases and conditions that occur by chance. A gene mutation can be the only source of disease.
Most diseases, however, are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Genetic testing examines your genes to look for mutations. A sample of blood, saliva, or tissue is used for the test. There are several reasons why you might want to have a genetic test done.
* To identify a disease or a type of disease. * To identify the cause of a disease.
* To determine a disease’s treatment options.
* To determine your risk of contracting a disease that may be preventable.
* To determine your risk of passing on a disease to your children.
* To examine your embryo, fetus, or baby.
The Way to Happiness
If you believe you are at risk for an inherited disease, consult your doctor. They may refer you to a genetic counselor, who will look over your family history and offer advice. They will inquire about your health as well as the health of your blood relatives. This data can be used to calculate your risk. It can assist you in deciding whether or not to undergo testing. It may also determine whether your insurance will cover the cost of the testing.
If a member of your family already has the disease, they should undergo genetic testing first. This will reveal whether their disease was inherited or happened by chance. People of different ethnic groups are frequently more vulnerable to certain diseases.
A positive test result indicates that you have the gene mutation. This increases your chances of contracting the disease. It does not, however, guarantee that you will contract the disease. It does, however, imply that the mutation could be passed down to your children.
A negative test result indicates that you lack the gene change. This could indicate that the disease does not run in your family or was not passed down to you. A negative result does not guarantee that you will not contract the disease. It means that your risk of contracting the disease is the same as that of other people.
Consider the following
There are advantages and disadvantages to genetic testing. These can vary depending on your circumstances. Keep in mind that genetic testing is entirely optional. You should not feel compelled to participate.
Among the advantages of genetic testing are:
- You may be less concerned about contracting a specific disease.
- You may be able to modify your lifestyle to reduce your risk.
- You may be aware of how to proceed with family planning.
- You may be able to receive treatment to help you avoid the disease. Medicine or surgery could fall under this category.
- Your doctor will advise you on how frequently to check for the disease.
There are also reasons why you might not want genetic testing. These are mostly emotional or financial in nature.
- You may feel irritated, guilty, or depressed.
- You may be more concerned about contracting a specific disease.
- It may cause issues with your employer or insurance company.
What to Ask Your Doctor
- How can I tell if I need to see a genetic counselor?
- What is my risk of contracting the disease if my genetic testing results are positive?
- What should I do to avoid or treat it?
- Should I have my genetic testing done in a clinic or can I do it at home?